One of the strongest feminist voices to emerge from Africa in the past 30 years, Everlyn Nicodemus is an artist, writer and curator. As an artist, she produces powerful works centred on personal and cultural trauma as well as the role art can play in healing, while her research and curatorial interests focus on the history of Modern African Art.
Born in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in 1954, Nicodemus’ life has been marked by movement: herself part of a moving diaspora which she documents in her writing and art making. Moving across Europe – to Sweden, France and Belgium before finally settling in the U.K. – her experience of racism and cultural trauma has prompted the creation of a unique body of work encompassing paintings, collaged ‘books’ and mixed-media assemblages as well as poems, using unusual materials to explore human experience, from metal nettings and sisal to textiles and found objects.
Throughout her travels, she has taken an active involvement in community life, giving voice especially to the marginalization of women throughout history and making visible their shared traumas and experiences. Significantly, Nicodemus’s investigations into trauma and violence, resulted in what is considered to be one of her most important works: Reference Scroll on Genocide, Massacres and Ethnic Cleansing (2004), a 16-metre-long scroll documenting some of the most atrocious genocides and ethnic cleansings known throughout history.
Her response to her own ordeal with PTSD and personal grief is a major factor in her work, as is her research investigating art from Africa in relation to human suffering and societal responsibility, on which she completed a PhD African Modern Art and Black Cultural Trauma from Middlesex University in 2012.
Nicodemus lives and works in Edinburgh. Her work has been included in various solo and group exhibitions, including Hacking Habitat: Art of Control, Utrecht, Holland (2016); 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2012), curated by Catherine de Zegher; Bystander on Probation, The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, UK (2007); Crossing the Void, Cultural Center Strombeek, Brussels, Belgium (2004); Displacements, University of Alicante, Spain (1997); Vessels of Silence, Kanaal Art Foundation, Kortrijk, Belgium (1992); and the solo exhibition Everlyn Nicodemus, National Museum, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. (1980).
Courtesy of the Richard Saltoun Gallery website.